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Police: Violence erupts as Pakistani lawyers storm hospital

Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers, angered over alleged misbehavior by some doctors toward one of their colleagues, stormed a cardiology hospital in the eastern city of Lahore on Wednesday.

The assault set off scuffles with the facility's staff and guards that caused three deaths and left heart patients unattended for several hours, police said.

According to police, the lawyers started punching and kicking some doctors at Punjab Institute of Cardiology and beating them with sticks. Police said the mob damaged hospital equipment and prompted the families of some patients to move them to other hospitals.

A patient is transferred after angry lawyers attack on a hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers, angered over alleged misbehavior of some doctors toward one of their colleagues last month, stormed a cardiology hospital in the eastern city of Lahore, setting off scuffles with the facility's staff and guards that left heart patients unattended for several hours. (AP PhotoK.M. Chaudary)

Authorities say tension had been brewing between the city's lawyers and doctors since last month, when one a Lahore lawyer complained that doctors mistreated him when he brought an ailing relative to the hospital. It was unclear what the mistreatment involved.

Local TV footage showed the lawyers' rampage as policemen descended on them with batons and some of the people at the scene cried for help.

According to witnesses and officials, two female patients at the hospital's emergency ward died when doctors and paramedics fled for safety. It was unclear who the third fatality was.

Police officers gather next to a burning police vehicles that were set on fire by angry lawyers during clashes in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers, angered over alleged misbehavior of some doctors toward one of their colleagues last month, stormed a cardiology hospital in the eastern city of Lahore, setting off scuffles with the facility's staff and guards that left heart patients unattended for several hours. (AP PhotoK.M. Chaudary)

Police later detained several lawyers on charges related to damaging hospital property, beating up doctors and clashing with hospital guards and police.

Raja Bisharat, provincial law minister, told reporters that authorities had ordered a probe into the incident. “The government will take stern action against those involved in attacking the hospital and beating the doctors,” he said.

Fayaz-ul-Hasan Chohan, provincial information minister, said he was also beaten by the protesting lawyers when he reached the hospital to assess the situation. "Hospitals are not attacked even when there is a war but today lawyers attacked a hospital and caused problems for the patients,” he said.

Police officers scuffle with angry lawyers during a clash in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers, angered over alleged misbehavior of some doctors toward one of their colleagues last month, stormed a cardiology hospital in the eastern city of Lahore, setting off scuffles with the facility's staff and guards that left heart patients unattended for several hours. (AP PhotoK.M. Chaudary)

Chohan said a group of lawyers also tried to kidnap him when he reached the hospital, where lawyers were beating doctors and clashing with police. “Now the situation is under out control,” he said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered an investigation into the incident.

Police use tear gas shell to disperse angry lawyers back during a clash in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers, angered over alleged misbehavior of some doctors toward one of their colleagues last month, stormed a cardiology hospital in the eastern city of Lahore, setting off scuffles with the facility's staff and guards that left heart patients unattended for several hours. (AP PhotoK.M. Chaudary)

An angry lawyer runs for shelter after police fire tear gas shell to disperse them during a clash in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers, angered over alleged misbehavior of some doctors toward one of their colleagues last month, stormed a cardiology hospital in the eastern city of Lahore, setting off scuffles with the facility's staff and guards that left heart patients unattended for several hours. (AP PhotoK.M. Chaudary)

Police use tear gas shell to disperse angry lawyers back during a clash in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers, angered over alleged misbehavior of some doctors toward one of their colleagues last month, stormed a cardiology hospital in the eastern city of Lahore, setting off scuffles with the facility's staff and guards that left heart patients unattended for several hours. (AP PhotoK.M. Chaudary)

Police officers detain a man during a clash in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers, angered over alleged misbehavior of some doctors toward one of their colleagues last month, stormed a cardiology hospital in the eastern city of Lahore, setting off scuffles with the facility's staff and guards that left heart patients unattended for several hours. (AP PhotoK.M. Chaudary)

People walk next to broken window of hospital shattered by angry lawyers during a clash in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers, angered over alleged misbehavior of some doctors toward one of their colleagues last month, stormed a cardiology hospital in the eastern city of Lahore, setting off scuffles with the facility's staff and guards that left heart patients unattended for several hours. (AP PhotoK.M. Chaudary)

A patient is transferred after angry lawyers staged an attack on a hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers, angered over alleged misbehavior of some doctors toward one of their colleagues last month, stormed a cardiology hospital in the eastern city of Lahore, setting off scuffles with the facility's staff and guards that left heart patients unattended for several hours. (AP PhotoK.M. Chaudary)